I read a sci-fi book about 30 years ago about a war with another race where a plant extract put the entire earth population asleep, except for one guy who used robots to create "ghosts" which scared the invading aliens and allowed the hero to enter a defense station and win the war. Any ideas on what it was called?

  • This sounds strangely similar to "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" movie but different enough that it must have been something else. Jun 8, 2011 at 20:20
  • @DVK Well, Final Fantasy never struck me has very original, rather taking inspiration from many sources (as well as overusing some clichés, well...).
    – jv42
    Jun 9, 2011 at 14:27
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    @jv42 - sorry, I was too busy staring at the CGI to actually consider thinking about content. Was I supposed to? :))) Jun 9, 2011 at 14:52
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    @DVK ooooh shiny! ;)
    – jv42
    Jun 9, 2011 at 14:59
  • Possibly very similar to 1960s story – aliens conquer Earth by making everyone fall asleep (but we can’t be sure, because this one does not have an accepted answer). Mar 28, 2016 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


Sleeping Planet by William R Burkett, Jr. (Amazon has reviews). A thoroughly enjoyable book.

From Amazon:

As long as "The Unaffected" fought the Llralans, Earth would not die in its sleep! Lulled into a coma by the exotic fumes from a strange plant, the people of Earth experienced terrible dreams while orange-skinned invaders quietly began taking control. But even as the planet slumbered to its downfall, a few Terrans miraculously remained awake. These were "The Unaffected" - men like Brad Donovan and Jimmy Rierson who battled the invaders with every weapon of technology and psychology at their disposal to prevent Earth from becoming a land of the living dead.

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    Hi @Paul, If you are saying you think the book @Robbie is looking for is Sleeping Planet, it would be advisable to give some details about the book, perhaps quote a wiki or amazon summary about the book, as proof of that. We strive for complete answers that will help the most people, these story identification questions are an opportunity to make finding books better/easier across the entire web. :)
    – DampeS8N
    Jun 21, 2011 at 12:30
  • My apologies - I gave more of a "hit and run" response than I should have. My recollection is that it's one central character and his brother, along with a very small number of others all of whom are immune to the effects of an extract derived from a plant native to one of the planets that the invaders came from. If you are exposed to the pollen, you sleep, after which you're immune (hence the small number of immunes on Earth). One of the characters was IIRC called Donovan, who may have had artificial legs? The book is available used from Amazon for close to $160!
    – Paul
    Jun 22, 2011 at 0:57

Definitely "Sleeping Planet". Earth and colonies are in an interstellar war against the Llralans (never can spell that). They put the populations of Earth, Mars and Venus to sleep and land troops and threaten to kill the populations of all 3 planets if the Terran forces don't make concessions. Donovan in fact does have prosthetic legs, if memory servers. Rierson convinces the aliens her is the ghost of "Gremper" (Grandpa) preying on the superstitious soldiers guarding the planet.

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